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Explain the ethical responses to abortion

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Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Explain the ethical responses to abortion I will be explain how a balance of absolutist and relativist ethical theories would respond to abortion. Relativist theories such as Utilitarianism and situation ethics allow abortion in some circumstances. Whereas Kantian ethics and Natural Law are absolute and say abortion is wrong in any circumstance. Bentham?s Act Utilitarianism is teleological and would look at how much pleasure would result from a woman having an abortion. Bentham would measure the pleasure with his Hedonic Calculus. If the pleasure outweighs the pain, then an abortion would be acceptable. For Mill, individual sovereign was important, meaning a person has the right over their own body. He was a weak Rule Utilitarianism. ...read more.


In some situations Fletcher may say that although murder is wrong, sometimes we must look past laws in order to do what is right. Therefore in some situations we need abortion because it can be the most loving thing to do. For example, it is loving to offer an abortion to a rape victim. Kantian ethics is deontological and absolute. Firstly Kant would ask whether the maxim of abortion can be universal. The universal law ?everybody should have an abortion? is contradictory because the human race would not exist if this existed. However if we universalise ?everyone who has been raped should have an abortion? it does not contradict itself. Nevertheless, it is a contradiction of the will because the maker of the maxim may have been conceived through rape themselves. ...read more.


The absolute secondary precept of this is that abortion is wrong. In an ectopic pregnancy where the foetus grows in the woman?s fallopian tube, if the pregnancy is carried on both the mother and foetus will die. In this situation, a follower of Natural law would still say abortion is wrong, even though it would save the mother?s life and ensure she could conceive in the future. However, removing the ovary with the side effect of killing the foetus but saving the mother would not be considered wrong. This is called the doctrine of double effect, the act itself is not evil but there is an unintended side effect. In conclusion, Natural law and Kantian ethics condemn abortion. It cannot be universalised and it goes against the primary precept of preserving life. Whereas Utilitarianism and Situation ethics allows abortion where is would bring around pleasure and if it is the most loving thing to do. ...read more.

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